Sunday, April 17, 2011

Today in history: April 17

More playoff heroics and a significant birthday on Today in History

1982: Due to lack of ice in Wichita, the Checkers and Wind open their CHL semifinal series up at the Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton – home of the Wind’s parent club. The Checkers’ parent club was the NHL’s reigning dynasty, and Kevin Devine beats Andy Moog to score the game-winner with 1:25 to go, giving the Chex a 3-2 victory in front of 14,467 fans. 
1984: The Checkers finish off a stunning upset of the Colorado Flames. The Flames, who had a 48-25-3 record in the regular season and won the regular-season title by a 22-point margin – had a sizeable advantage over the Checkers, who had finished the year with a 34-36-2 record. Yet, Red Laurence scored twice and Kein Leiter had a goal and an assist to spark a 3-2 victory. Laurence’s game-winner put the Chex up 3-1 with 3:11 left in the second. An early goal by Colorado cut the lead, but Rob Holland stopped 40 shots – including nine in the third period – to seal the victory. 
1987: Ron Handy and Bob Lakso have three-point nights as the Checkers score five in the first period to beat Fort Wayne 7-5 at MSA, evening their quarerfinal series at 1-1. . Lakso breaks a 5-5 tie in the third with a goal on Handy’s assist. Mike Zanier stops 21 shots to backstop the victory. 

Herb Lewis: An important figure in the history of hockey in Indianapolis, Lewis was the first coach of the Indianapolis Capitals, leading the team from 1939-43. He led the Caps to a division championship in their first season, and the Calder Cup championship in 1942 and the Calder Cup Finals in 1943. He guided a team that included several future NHLers, and Hall of Fame goaltender Harry Lumley. The first two years, he was a part-time player-coach, playing 28 games and scoring two goals -- including one on Herb Lewis Night in 1941. After retiring, Lewis spent the rest of his years in Indianapolis. He was the captain of the Red Wings' Stanley Cup championship teams in 1936 and 1937 and played 11 seasons in the NHL, all with the Detroit Cougars/Red Wings franchise. He scored 148 goals in those 11 seasons, and was widely believed to be the fastest skater in the NHL. Lewis played in the NHL's first All-Star Game in 1934. He became an Honoured Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1989. He was born in Calgary on this date in 1906, and died in Indianapolis in January, 1991. 
Bill Dowd: Defenseman who played parts of two seasons with the Checkers from 1983-85. He played 14 regular-season games and seven playoff games with the Checkers' final CHL entry in 1983-84, then returned to the team when it moved to the IHL and played 62 games in 1984-85. He had three goals and 16 assists in his two seasons in Indianapolis. He was an eighth-round pick of the Islanders in 1981. A native of Hamilton, Ontario, he is 48. 
Jimmy Mann: Winger who played 38 games for the Ice's first IHL entry in 1988-89 at the end of his career. Much in keeping with a team that set new standards for penalty minutes, he had 275 PIMs in that one half-season. He also had five goals and 10 assists. Mann played parts of eight seasons in the NHL for the Penguins, Nordiques and Jets prior to coming to Indianapolis. A native of Montreal, he is 52.
Marty Wilford: Defenseman who played 106 regular-season games with the Ice in their final two IHL seasons from 1997-99. He had three goals, 17 assists and 132 PIMs in those seasons. He also had an assist in the 1999 playoffs. Wilford played eight more seasons in the IHL and AHL after the Ice franchise moved to the Central Hockey League in 1999. He is still active, having played in Italy this past season after three years in Germany. A native of Cobourg, Ontario, he is 34.

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